When people went to Amir al-mu'minin in a deputation and complained to him
through what they had to say against `Uthman, and requested him to speak
to him on their behalf and to admonish him for their sake, he went to see
him and said:
are behind me and they have made me an ambassador between you and
themselves; but by Allah, I do not know what to say to you. I know nothing
(in this matter) which you do not know, nor can I lead you to any matter
of which you are not aware. You certainly know what we know, we have not
come to know anything before you which we could tell you; nor did we learn
anything in secret which we should convey to you.
You have seen as we have
seen and you have heard as we have heard. You sat in the company of the
Prophet of Allah as we did. (Abu Bakr) Ibn Abi Quhafah and (`Umar) ibn
al-Khattab were no more responsible for acting righteously than you, since
you are nearer than both of them to the Prophet of Allah through kinship,
and you also hold relationship to him by marriage which they do not hold.
(fear) Allah, in your own self; for, by Allah, you are not being shown
anything as if you are blind or being apprised of anything as if you are
The ways are clear while the
banners of faith are fixed. You should know that among the creatures of
Allah, the most distinguished person before Allah is the just Imam who has
been guided (by Allah) and guides others.
So, he stands by the
recognised ways of the Prophet's behaviour and destroys unrecognised
innovations. The (Prophet's) ways are clear and they have signs, while
innovations are also clear and they too have signs. Certainly, the worst
man before Allah is the oppressive Imam who has gone astray and through
whom others go astray.
He destroys the the accepted
sunnah and revives abandoned innovations. I heard the Messenger of Allah
saying: "On the Day of Judgement the oppressive Imam will be brought
without anyone to support him or anyone to advance excuses on his behalf,
and then he will be thrown into Hell where he will rotate as the hand-mill
rotates, then (eventually) he will be confined to its hollow."
I swear to
you by Allah that you should not be that Imam of the people who will be
killed because it has been said that, "An Imam of this people will be
killed after which killing and fighting will be made open for them till
the Day of Judgement, and he will confuse their matters and spread
troubles over them.
As a result, they will not
discern truth from wrong. They will oscillate like waves and would be
" You should not behave as
the carrying beast for Marwan so that he may drag you wherever he likes,
despite (your) seniority of age and length of life.
`Uthman said to Amir al-mu'minin: "Speak to the people to give me time
until I redress their grievances." Amir al-mu'minin then said: "So far as
Medina is concerned here is no question of time. As for remoter areas you
can have the time needed for your order to reach there."
(1). During the Caliphate
of `Uthman when the Muslims were weary of the oppression of the Government
and its officials collected in Medina to complain to the senior companions
of the Prophet, they came to Amir al-mu'minin in a peaceful manner and
requested him to see `Uthman and advise him not to trample on the Muslims'
rights and to put an end to the troubles which were proving the cause of
the people's ruin, whereupon Amir al-mu'minin went to him and uttered
In order to make the
bitterness of the admonition palatable Amir al-mu'minin adopted that way
of speech in the beginning which would create a sense of responsibility in
the addressee and direct him towards his obligations.
Thus, by mentioning his
companionship of the Prophet, his personal position, and his kinship to
the Prophet as against the two previous Caliphs, his intention was to make
him realise his duties; in any case, this was obviously not an occasion
for eulogising him, so that its later portion can be disregarded and the
whole speech be regarded as an eulogy of his attainments, because from its
very beginning it is evident that whatever `Uthman did, he did it
wilfully, that nothing was done without his knowledge or his being
informed, and that he could not be held unaccountable for it because of
his being unaware of it.
If the adoption of a line of
action which made the whole Islamic world raise hue and cry in spite of
his having being a companion of the Prophet, having heard his
instructions, having seen his behaviour and having been acquainted with
the commandments of Islam can be regarded as a distinction, then this
taunt may also be regarded as praise.
If that is not a distinction
then this too cannot be called and eulogy. In fact, the words about which
it is argued that they are in praise are enough to prove the seriousness
of his crime, because a crime in ignorance and unawareness is not so
serious as the weight given to the seriousness of the commission of a
crime despite knowledge and awareness.
Consequently a person who is
unaware of the rise and fall of a road and stumbles in the dark night is
excusable but a person who is aware of the rise and fall of the road and
stumbled in broad day light is liable to be blamed.
If on this occasion he is
told that he has eyes and is also aware of the rise and fall of the way,
it would not mean that his vastness of knowledge or the brightness of his
eye-sight is being praised, but the intention would be that he did not
notice the pitfalls despite his eyes, and did not walk properly, and that
therefore for him, having or not having eyes is the same, and knowing or
not knowing is equal.
In this connection great
stress in laid on his being a son-in-law, namely that the Prophet married
his two daughters Ruqayyah and Umm Kulthum to him one after the other.
Before taking this to be a distinction, the real nature of `Uthman's
son-in-lawship should be seen. History shows that in this matter `Uthman
did not enjoy the distinction of being the first, but before him Ruqayyah
and Umm Kulthum had been married to two sons of Abu Lahab namely `Utbah
and `Utaybah, but despite their being sons-in-law, they have not been
included among people of position of pre-prophethood period.
How then can this be
regarded as a source of position without any personal merit, when there is
no authority about the importance of this relationship, nor was any
importance attached to this matter in such a way that there might have
been some competition between `Uthman and some other important personality
in this regard and that his selection for it might have given him
prominence, or that these two girls might have been shown to possess an
important position in history, tradition or biography as a result of which
this relationship could be given special importance and regarded as a
distinction for him? If the marriage of these two daughters with `Utbah
and `Utaybah in the pre-prophethood period is held as lawful on the ground
that marriage with unbelievers had not till then been made unlawful, then
in `Uthman's case also the condition for lawfulness was his acceptance of
Islam, there is no doubt that he had pronounced the kalimah
ash-shahadatayn (there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is His Messenger)
and had accepted Islam outwardly.
As such this marriage can be
held a proof of his outward Islam, but no other honour can be proved
Again, it is also not agreed
that these two were the real daughters of the Messenger of Allah, because
there is one group which denies them to be his real daughters, and regards
them as being the daughters of Khadijah's sister Halah, or the daughters
of her own previous husband. Thus, Abu'l-Qasim al-Kufi (d. 352 A.H.)
"When the Messenger of Allah
married Khadijah, then some time thereafter Halah died leaving two
daughters, one named Zaynab and the other named Ruqayyah and both of them
were brought up by the Prophet and Khadijah and they maintained them, and
it was the custom before Islam that a child was assigned to whoever
brought him up." (al-lstighathah, p. 69)
Ibn Hisham has written about
the issues of Hadrat Khadijah as follows:
"Before marriage with the
Prophet she was married to Abi Halah ibn Malik. She delivered for him Hind
ibn Abi Halah and Zaynab bint Abi Halah. Before marriage with Abi Halah
she was married to `Utayyiq ibn `Abid ibn `Abdillah ibn `Amr ibn Makhzum
and she delivered for him `Abdullah and a daughter." (as-Sirah
an-nabawiyyah, vol. 4, p. 293)
This shows that of Hadrat
Khadijah had two daughters before being married to the Prophet and
according to all appearance they would be called his daughters and those
to whom they were married would be called his sons-in-law, but the
position of this relationship would be the same as if those girls were his
Therefore, before putting it
forth as a matter for pride the real status of the daughters should be
noted and a glance should be cast at `Uthman's conduct. In this
connection, al-Bukhari and other narrators (of traditions) and historians
record this tradition as follows:
Anas ibn Malik relates that:
"We were present on the occasion of the burial of the Prophet's daughter
Umm Kulthum, while the Prophet was sitting beside her grave.
I saw his eyes shedding
tears. Then he said, 'Is there any one among you who has not committed a
sin last night?' Abu Talhah (Zayd ibn Sahl al-Ansari) said, 'I', then the
Prophet said, 'Then you get into the grave,' consequently he got down into
The commentators said about
'committed sin' that the Holy Prophet meant to say 'one who had not had
' On this occasion the Holy
Prophet unveiled the private life of `Uthman and prevented him from
getting down into the grave, although it was a prominent merit of the
Prophet's character that he did not disgrace or belittle any one by making
public his private life, and despite of knowledge of others' shortcomings,
ignored them; but in this case the filth was such that it was deemed
necessary to disgrace him before the whole crowd.
Since `Uthman did not show
any regard for the demise of his wife (Umm Kulthum) nor was he moved or
felt sorry (for this event), and paid no heed to the cutting off his
relationship with the Holy Prophet (for being his son-in-law), he
(`Uthman) had sexual intercourse on the same night, therefore the Holy
Prophet deprived him of this right and honour.
(al-Bukhari, as-Sahih, vol.
2, pp. 100-101, 114; Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Musnad, vol. 3, pp. 126, 228,
229, 270; al-Hakim, al-Mustadrak, vol. 4, p. 47; al-Bayhaqi, as-Sunan
al-kubra, vol. 4, p. 53; Ibn Sa`d, at-Tabaqat al-kabir, vol. 8, p. 26;
as-Suhayli, ar-Rawd al-unuf, vol. 2, p. 107; Ibn Hajar, al-Isabah, vol. 4,
p. 489; Fath al-bari, vol. 3, p. 122; al-`Ayni, `Umdah al-qari, vol. 4,p.
85; Ibn al-Athir, an-Nihayah, vol. 3, p. 276; Ibn Manzur, Lisan al-`Arab,
vol. 9, pp. 280-281; az-Zabidi, Taj al-`arus, vol. 6, p. 220).